Why is the MyWays success framework like learning to drive?

Think about learning to drive a car. You need to develop the Content Knowledge to understand the rules of the road, what the floor pedals do, and what the dashboard is telling you; the Creative Know How to apply that knowledge and to pilot a car proficiently; the Habits of Success that are so essential to being a safe, aware driver; and the Wayfinding Abilities required to navigate to your desired destination.

Now picture a graduate of your school. What should each graduate know and be able to do in order to drive their life forward? In the 21st century, a high school diploma needs to represent much more than proficiency on state tests and completing required courses.

MyWays can help you identify a broader, deeper vision of success for your students. We designed the MyWays framework so you can map and integrate other success frameworks you are using to the MyWays competencies. (We have tools to help you do that.)


The Framework

The MyWays Student Success Framework includes 20 competencies organized into four domains. It pulls together education, work, and human development research and reflects insights from the innovative educators in the NGLC network.

This framework is designed for students of all different academic abilities and backgrounds, including those who face the extraordinary challenges of intergenerational poverty and racial discrimination.

The MyWays framework is "holistic." In our view, the competencies in one domain are not isolated from the others. They cannot be divided into hard/soft, cognitive/non-cognitive, academic/social-emotional. The competencies are inter-connected and students learn and develop them in interconnected ways: by increasing both capability and agency.

You'll find capability and agency within each domain and each competency. Look for craftsmanship, mastery, artistry (capability) and self-management, self-reflection, creative empowerment (agency) as we define the 20 competencies in the MyWays framework. 

Scroll to read the MyWays competency definitions, or download a printable version.


Habits of Success

Behaviors and practices that enable students to own their learning and cultivate personal effectiveness

  • Academic Behaviors - Going to class; participating fully; completing homework and projects; and managing time and resources

  • Self-Direction & Perseverance - Initiative, flexibility and adaptability, grit and tenacity, self-control

  • Positive Mindsets - “I belong in this learning community; My ability and competence grow with my effort; I can succeed at this task; This work has value for me.”

  • Learning Strategies - Study skills and strategies, goal-setting, self-regulated learning, help seeking

  • Social Skills & Responsibilities - Interpersonal skills, empathy, cooperation, leadership, ethics, and ability to build social networks


Creative Know How

Skills and abilities to analyze complex problems and construct solutions in real-life situations

  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving - Ability to analyze and reason effectively, and use systems thinking and design thinking toward solving problems in varied settings

  • Creativity & Entrepreneurship - The imagination, inventiveness, and experimentation to achieve new and productive ideas and solutions

  • Communication & Collaboration - Oral, written, and visual communication skills and the ability to work effectively with diverse teams

  • Information, Media, & Technology Skills - Ability to access, evaluate, manage, create, and disseminate information and media using a wide variety of technology tools

  • Practical Life Skills - Ability to understand and manage personal finances, health, and independence


Content Knowledge

Subject area knowledge and organizing concepts essential for academic and real-life applications

  • English Core - Deep English learning and application across settings, aligned with the Common Core and similar standards

  • Math Core - Deep math learning and application across settings, aligned with the Common Core and similar standards

  • Science, Social Studies, Arts, Languages - Active learning of core disciplinary concepts and their application in a broad selection of liberal arts and sciences, and performing and language arts

  • Interdisciplinary & Global Knowledge - Integrated interdisciplinary thinking and empathetic development of global, cross-cultural, civic, environmental, and economic literacies

  • Career-Related Technical Skills - The integration of academic, technical, and employability skills in at least one existing career area or emerging problem space of personal interest


Wayfinding Abilities

Knowledge and capacity to successfully navigate college, career, and life opportunities and choices

  • Survey the Learn, Work, & Life Landscapes - Ability to research and understand information, resources, external barriers, and internal factors relevant to upcoming transitions in school, career, and life

  • Identify Opportunities & Set Goals - The self-awareness, focus, and strategic thinking to cultivate individual strengths and set goals for learning, work, and life

  • Design & Iterate Prototype Experiences - Ability to translate goals into prototype experiences for each new stage or transition, especially the transition from high schooler to independent, contributing adult

  • Find Needed Help & Resources - Ability to identify, locate, and secure the time, money, materials, organizations, mentors, and partners needed to support one’s plans

  • Navigate Each Stage of the Journey - Ability to implement plans in the worlds of education, work, and life, making mid-course adjustments as required based on new experience

Student Agency

The skills and behaviors of the MyWays competencies are interrelated and interdependent. Learners develop competency by increasing their capability and agency.


Knowledge and the understanding to use it in real-world situations


A deep and durable self, acting to shape one’s development and environment


Student Profile

The MyWays Whole-Student Competency Plot is a tool to create a profile for individual students based on their strengths, needs, and goals. It displays all of the competencies at once to help you visualize the whole set of competencies together. It can be tailored to your existing student success frameworks and may be used for a variety of practical purposes. Learn more about this tool.


Explore the Report

Read "Part B: Broader & Deeper Competencies for Student Success" of the MyWays Student Success Series to take a deeper look at this unifying framework.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to do more with these ideas? Use the tools in "Exercise Two: Fine-Tune Your Community’s Definition of Success."

Go to Big Question 3

Now that you understand change and redefining success, check out the next question about redesigning LEARNING.